Candy “Tsa Mandebele” Mokwena is back with her fourth studio album, Still Here.
This is her first album since her contract with Kalawa Jazmee Records ended.
“The album will take you from cleaning the house in the morning to clubbing in the evening with your friends,” she says.
With her latest work, she still caters for all ears and settings. “The album has traditional and modern sounds with Afro-soul and House songs. My brand is known for including various languages, which is what I did on this album.”
The 10-track album features a Xitsonga love song called Yedin with maestro Henny C is a special feature on the album. Other hit songs to lookout for include Lollypop with Mr Brown and Tsongaboy with Mafikizolo’s main dancer Cedric Tsongaboy.
“Actually, the entire album,” Candy tells Move!.
THE MAKING OF STILL HERE
Still Here is a reminder for Candy of all the negotiations that fell through to distribute her music.
“Before Sony Music Entertainment agreed to partner with me through Mosekedi Entertainment, negotiations with other labels fell through as what was offered was not good at all.”
With her experience in the industry, she came to understand the term, “easy come easy go”. Candy emphasises that the title of the record is influenced by the media asking if she is still making music. “I am still here, not just everywhere but where it matters,” she tells us.
It takes a brave, seasoned artist to go their own way, but that is what Candy did. Leaving Kalawa was not a decision she made overnight, but it was a long time coming.
“The idea of going independent was not an easy one to make, but I just knew it was time last year. However, it only came into fruition this year when I decided not to renew my contract with my former label.”
In 2011 she founded Mosekedi Entertainment to oversee her bookings for gigs, the establishment will now serve her interests as an artist too.
“The main schooling ground for me as an entrepreneur in the music business is the business is evolving and demands that one be in control to fully prepare for its twists and turns.”
Candy believes social-media growth makes music easily accessible, which made going independent a natural move given those factors. “My former label, Kalawa Jazmee Records, is called University of Kalawa for a reason. I obtained my degree and it was time for me to make way for others.”
BEING A MENTOR
She is a mentor to Limpopo’s rising stars, proud of what the youngsters have carried out. She is most proud of them for representing their languages. She says Monada and Master KG are great examples of representation for Khelobedu, which is not an official language, “that has not stopped us from using our language in the music we put out”, she tells Move!.
Candy has also worked with Makhadzi and Sho Madjozi on her previous albums.
Candy says she is doing pretty well amid the coronavirus outbreak “even though anxious at times. Our industry is under threat””
The musician tells Move! that the lockdown has inspired her to develop new ideas. “I am developing few concepts around the album and my life story. You will be the first to know as soon as I am ready to reveal everything.”
Apart from promoting her new album when the lockdown ends, Candy will be visiting her family. “I will be travelling back and forth between Bolobedu [Limpopo] and Johannesburg. I miss my family.”